Relationship cycles are often misunderstood when we assign blame.

One important cycle is the Relationship Cycle of Aggression and (sometimes) Violence - the cycle of fighting..

The cycle of fighting (or connection/disconnection) in a relationship can be described as having 3 parts.  The entire cycle may happen in one day or it may take weeks or months. It may be intense or subtle.

Most people with children think they're "ending things" when they get divorced.  In many cases, all they're doing is continuing to act out the unconscious dynamics that didn't work in marriage.  When divorce comes, they invest renewed energy in the same old unconscious struggles.  The only "change" is that they're doing it in the new arena of the divorcing process, and then again in the new arena of  the new post-divorce configuration of their (fundamentally unchanged) relationship. Same destructive unconscious patterns and struggles.  New setting.  

On the other hand, some people use divorce or the possibility of divorce as an opportunity to learn about themselves, re-think all of their previously unchallenged assumptions, and make real changes.  This is an easy thing to say, and a very difficult thing to do.  As Tomas Szasz said, "Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence."  A really useful professional will create the opportunity for this kind of real personal change in the divorce process, which includes the threshold decision of whether to divorce or not.

Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result."  Changing your understanding of your own reactions and the relationship dynamics is key to avoiding doing the same thing over and over, whether you stay married, get divorced or have been divorced for some time.  The relationship troubles of our age are different from the one's in our parent's time.  Very few professionals (or lay people) understand this, so their advice doesn't change anything, and often makes things worse.

 © 2007-2014 S. Wolhandler All Rights Reserved

To face the uncertainties and trials of life without pervasive anxiety, depression, stress and other troubles, we need a certain kind of felt sense of who we are, a True Self that develops naturally when we are blessed with Balanced Parents.  From Hinduism to psychoanalysis, much has been said about our True Self.  "Wanting to reform the world without discovering one's true self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns.  It is much simpler to wear shoes."  Ramana Maharshi.  Alice Miller’s psychoanalytic book The Drama of the Gifted Child, was subtitled “The Search for the True Self.”
 By “Self”, I mean the moment to moment feelings and beliefs about who we are that we carry with us, that penetrate and inform every aspect of our lives.  Our True Self is responsive to our sense perceptions, undistorted by beliefs and thoughts we developed to defend against distress originally suffered in childhood.  Our True Self knows how to be us as a newborn knows how to be itself, prior to theory, thought or abstraction.
When our True Self is guiding our choices, our conscious awareness of who we are fits with our deepest instincts, those whose roots reach to our earliest consciousness.  When we live from our True Self we experience the fullness of life, we are confident, secure, peaceful, and satisfied, we are free of debilitating anxiety, depression, and stress.  All the money and things and power and accomplishments in the world will not replace a True Self.
Our True Self is solid without being rigid, proud and humble, strong and flexible.  It is self-assured without arrogance, confident yet eager to learn, receptive and potent.  Our True Self is at ease yet engaged, kind but not foolish, solid yet permeable.  In a word, our True Self is balanced.  Developing a True Self in a child is the goal of Balanced Parenting.  Uncovering our True Self is an important part of becoming a Balanced Parent.  Copyright 2007-2012 Steven Wolhandler, All rights reserved

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